Rob Dauster

Retired WNBA player Sheryl Swoopes speaks on stage during the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2016 announcement, Monday, April 4, 2016, in Houston, Texas. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Ex-Loyola player says Swoopes created hostile environment

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CHICAGO (AP) A former Loyola University basketball player says women’s coach Sheryl Swoopes created a hostile environment and routinely threatened to cut players from the roster or have their scholarships scrapped.

The university said last week it was investigating the women’s basketball program after allegations of player mistreatment surfaced. Details of the allegations were not released.

Former player Cate Soan told ABC’s “Good Morning America” in a segment broadcast Thursday that Swoopes, who has coached at Loyola for three seasons, made her feel “belittled” and “humiliated.”

“It made it hard to play,” she said. “It wasn’t about working hard and having fun anymore. It was about surviving.”

The environment became so hostile that players were turning on one another and mistrust spread throughout the athletic department, Soan said.

Ten of the 12 players that were expected to return from the current team have been granted or asked for releases to transfer from the private Chicago university.

Deputy athletic director Jermaine Truax said last week the allegations were “more than concerning” and Swoopes “will fully cooperate” with the investigation. Team spokesman Leo Krause said in an email Thursday that there were no updates on the investigation, which remains ongoing.

Swoopes did not respond to an email seeking comment Thursday.

Swoopes led Texas Tech to the 1993 NCAA title and was the first player signed by the WNBA. She won four straight titles with the Houston Comets, earned three Olympic gold medals and was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this month.

Swoopes was hired in 2013 with only limited coaching experience, having served as an assistant at Mercer Island High School in Washington state in 2010, according to Loyola’s website. Her Loyola teams have gone a combined 31-62.

30-year old man poses as teen, stars as high school basketball player

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A star high school player in Canada has been arrested on accusations that he is actually a 30-year old man.

Jonathan Nicola, a refugee from South Sudan, was arrested at the Canadian border last week. He is currently being held on charges of “contravening the Immigration Refugee Protection Act,” according to a report from the Windsor-Star.

“There’s really not a whole lot to say,” a spokesman for the school district told the Windsor-Star. “Because of the fact this is a matter that’s still outstanding before the federal authorities, obviously we can’t really comment on it. Beyond that there’s not a whole lot to say.”

When Nicola first arrived in the country, he told officials that he had just turned 17 years old. He was in Canada on a student-visa, attending Catholic Central High School as a 11th-grader. The 6-foot-9 Nicola was even leaving with his high school team’s head coach.

This is not the first time this has happened recently. Back in 2011, a basketball player in Texas who went by the name Jerry Joseph and was posing as an orphan from Haiti was discovered to be Guerdwich Montimere, a 22-year old from Florida. He was discovered at an AAU tournament by his former coaches, and eventually spent two years in prison in part because he had a sexual relationship with a girl who was 15 years old at the time. In 2013 in Tennessee, a 22-year old man posed as an 18-year old high school transfer and eventually played one season of basketball.

JaKeenan Gant becomes the last in a long line of Missouri transfers

Missouri forward Jakeenan Gant (23) reacts after being called for a foul during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Missouri on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, in Athens, Ga. (AJ Reynolds/Athens Banner-Herald via AP) MAGS OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
(AJ Reynolds/Athens Banner-Herald via AP)
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Jakeenan Gant’s career at Missouri has come to an end, as the school confirmed on Thursday that the former top 100 recruit will be transferring out of the program.

“I’ll miss Columbia, but feel the need to make a move with my family and mother in mind,” Gant said in a release. According to the statement, his mom is sick and he wants to move to a school closer to her. “I want nothing but the best for Mizzou in the future and appreciate the friendships I’ve made in my time here.”

Gant, a 6-foot-9 sophomore that averaged 5.1 points this past season, has had a tumultuous career in Columbia. Just in the last three months, he’s had surgery on his shoulder and been arrested in one of the weirder instances of an athlete running afoul of the law; his roommate was wanted in connection with a couple of robberies, and when police searched the house, they found “marijuana smoking devices”.

This is not unusual for this Missouri team. They signed 12 players in their 2013 and 2014 recruiting classes, and none of them will be on the roster for the 2016-17 season. Of those 12, 11 of them either decided to transfer out of the program or were booted from the team. The only one that left in good standing? Keanau Post, a JuCo big man that graduated in 2015.

Kentucky’s Marcus Lee: ‘My plan is to go to the NBA’

Kentucky forward Marcus Lee dunks during the first half of a second-round men's college basketball game against Indiana in the NCAA Tournament, Saturday, March 19, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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Marcus Lee has officially declared for the draft, and while he has yet to sign with an agent, all signs point toward the 6-foot-9 Kentucky center leaving school.

“My plan is to go to the NBA. That’s the only goal,” Lee told ESPN.com.

John Calipari announced earlier this spring that every member of his team — from Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray to the walk-ons — had declared for the draft to take advantage of the new rule, and that is part of the reason that Lee is going public with this now. He doesn’t want NBA GMs to think his decision to enter his name in the draft is part of a publicity stunt by his college coach.

“I want people to know I am serious about this,” Lee said to ESPN.com. “I’ve talked to Coach Cal about this, and he definitely understands that I’m going to the NBA this year.”

He’s in a difficult spot. Lee was a top 30 recruit coming out of high school, but he spent his first two seasons at Kentucky playing behind Julius Randle, Karl Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein and the rest of the massive Wildcat front lines in recent seasons. He got a chance to play major minutes this season, but he was relatively ineffective, averaging just 6.4 points, 6.0 boards and 1.6 blocks.

In other words, he looks the part of a four-year guy at UK.

Lee is a likely second round pick.

Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes to declare for the draft

Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes (10) drives on Ohio State's Jae'Sean Tate (1) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Madison, Wis. Hayes had a team-high 21 points in Wisconsin's 79-68 win. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)
(AP Photo/Andy Manis)
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Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes will declare for the NBA Draft without signing with an agent. He will be eligible to return to school for his senior season should he remove his name from consideration by May 25th.

Hayes, a 6-foot-8 forward, averaged 15.7 points, 5.9 boards and 3.0 assists for the Badgers as a junior, seeing his production increase dramatically in a year where he was asked to fill the void left by Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker.

Hayes’ decision was first reported by The Vertical.

The knock on Hayes, however, was that the increased production came at the expense of his efficiency. He shot just 36 percent from the floor and 29 percent from three this season. In other Hayes, there is some reason to think that Hayes as potential as a pro, but he also has some things that he needs to work on to get there.

Which is why the new rule allowing players to declare and withdraw from the draft is perfect for him. He can get the feedback he needs and the information on the things that he has to improve and, if he doesn’t like where he’s likely to end up after this season, he can return to school, spend the summer trying to improve his flaws and try and play his way into next year’s draft.

Former Syracuse star Pearl Washington dead at age 52

FILE - In this March 10, 1984, file photo, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, right, and Syracuse player Dwayne Washington (31) watch as Georgetown University took control in overtime of the Big East Conference championship basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, current and former players, and others associated with the program continue to rally in support of former Orange star Dwayne Pearl Washington, who’s afflicted with brain cancer.  (AP Photo/Ray Stubblebine, File)
(AP Photo/Ray Stubblebine, File)
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Dwayne ‘Pearl’ Washington is dead at 52, Syracuse University announced on Wednesday morning.

He had spent the last year battling a brain tumor, undergoing surgery last fall, but he was unable to defeat the illness.

Washington was a playground legend in his hometown of New York City, becoming one of the Big East’s first “Point Gods“. A 6-foot-3 human highlight reel, Washington’s flair for the spectacular made him one of the best, and most entertaining, players in the country. The Big East was four years old when he first enrolled at Syracuse, and he played a starring role for the teams that made the Orange relevant in the conference for the first time.

Pearl’s most famous shot came in January of 1984, when he hit a half-court buzzer-beater to win a game against Boston College and proceeded to run directly down the tunnel and into the locker room:

Throughout the season, Syracuse players wore warmup shirts emblazoned with ‘Pearl’ on the front and his No. 31 on the back.

“There was no better guy,” head coach Jim Boeheim said after a game against Georgia Tech this season, “and there’s nobody who has meant more to our basketball program than Dwayne Washington.”